How Health Plans Are Reinventing the Consumer Experience for 2021 and Beyond
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event date
February 11, 2021 10:30 am ET

How Health Plans Are Reinventing the Consumer Experience for 2021 and Beyond


Merrill Friedman
Senior Director, Disability Policy Engagement

Merrill leads the Disability Policy Engagement team and advocacy strategy for Anthem, a leading health benefits company serving nearly 71 million people nationwide through its affiliates. She works collaboratively with consumers, advocates, and stakeholders to ensure the diverse interests and preferences of older adults, individuals with disabilities, and children, adolescents, and young adults involved in child welfare programs inform Anthem’s health benefits approaches and health care programs. Merrill also advances the integration of the independent living philosophy, principles of self-determination and the National Advisory Board (NAB) on Improving Health Care Services for Older Adults and People with Disabilities’ six foundational principles throughout these programs, as well as Anthem’s member interactions and business practices. In addition, she leads strategic partnerships with national and local organizations to advance the development of inclusive public policy.

Previously, Merrill was an interim director at a nonprofit foster care agency serving at-risk children and adolescents who experienced severe neglect and physical abuse. She also served as president and chief executive officer of a private organization that owned and operated residential treatment facilities, group homes and home and community-based services in several states for adolescents with mental health, substance use disorders, and/or intellectual disabilities.

Merrill is a nationally recognized leader in Medicaid, long-term services and supports, and health services that reflect the needs and interests of older adults, people with disabilities, and children and adolescents. She has served on numerous national boards and commissions.  She was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.  Currently, Merrill serves on the board of directors for Family Voices and the Long-Term Quality Alliance (LTQA) and is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) and the NASUAD MLTSS Institute Advisory Board.

Stacy Byers
Vice President, Customer Experience
Highmark Health

Stacy Byers leads a team dedicated to defining a differentiated customer experience and helping employees across the enterprise deliver on that vision. Stacy and her team are using design thinking, benchmarking, and problem-solving frameworks to help our employees deliver healthcare in a more customer-centric way. She and her team are dedicated to helping all of our employees dare to create the remarkable moments that will transform health care.

Stacy joined Highmark in January 2001 as a web marketing specialist. Since then she has been working in many capacities on digital experiences, serving as business analyst, project manager, writer, designer, tester, technical analyst, and everything in between, most recently serving as Vice President of Digital Strategy. Prior to joining Highmark, Stacy was a copy editor for a major health system and a professor of English at Clarion University. Stacy has a BA in English from Clarion University and an MA in Literary and Cultural Theory from Carnegie Mellon University.

Mark Dodge
AVP of Stars, Risk and Quality
Bright Health Plan

A healthcare executive with over 12 years of industry and management experience, Mark has a  prominent background in STARs, Quality, and HEDIS as well as Clinical Analytics and Finance. He has been successful at providing innovative solutions with financial outcome analysis and consequential business impacts.

Mark joined Bright from QualChoice Health Plan Services, where he spent 5 years as the Vice President of STARs and Quality and was accountable for the strategy and execution of CMS Star quality rating initiatives across all Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. During his tenure, he helped launch QualChoice’s first 4 STAR plan as well as help facilitate the sale of QualChoice’s largest MA contract to Premera Blue Cross. Prior to QualChoice, Mark spent 9 years at Humana, most recently in their STARs program, where he was accountable for reporting and analytics and worked closely with senior leaders and other key stakeholders to determine and prioritize STARs initiatives targeted to providers and members. During his tenure, Mark helped lead Humana from 0% of members in 4-star rated plans to over 90% of members in 4-star rated plans, driving over $900M in incremental revenue. Mark has also spent time in public accounting and the financial services industry and has also taught at local universities in the Louisville, KY area. Mark earned his MBA from Bellarmine University in Louisville, with a concentration in entrepreneurial studies.

Mark is based in Louisville, where he lives with his wife Kirsten and their three children; son Hudson, son Luke, and daughter Julia. Mark spends much of his free time playing guitar and as head coach of his son’s middle school basketball team, but also enjoys running, swimming, and has been known to participate in the Ironman from time to time.

Steve Wigginton

As CEO, Steve is responsible for the overall strategy, growth, and operations of the company. Previously the CEO of NovuHealth, Steve became the CEO of Icario in 2020 following NovuHealth’s merger with Revel. Steve has a 25-year track record of driving growth, culture, and innovation in healthcare and is passionate about creating a better experience for members, patients, and providers.

Steve came to Icario from Sutter Health | Aetna, a 50/50 joint venture between Aetna, a CVS Health company, and Sutter Health, a not-for-profit integrated health delivery system in northern California. There, he served as the joint venture’s first CEO, responsible for launching an innovative health insurance business, delivering best-in-class clinical care, and driving breakthrough consumer and member experiences.

Before that, Steve served as CEO of Valence Health, where he led and grew the business following its acquisition by Evolent Health, doubling revenues and scaling operations internationally. Prior to the Valence acquisition, Steve was the chief development officer at Evolent Health, responsible for driving growth, partnerships, and the brand. Additional leadership roles in technology-driven care management, physician practice management, and healthcare supply chain businesses round out Steve’s experience.

Steve holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree of business administration from Indiana University, Kelley School of Business. In his free time, Steve is an avid cyclist, traveler, and concertgoer. He and his wife, an award-winning OB/Gyn, have four beautiful children.

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